Using discussions to_enhance_student_nov 16


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  • Complete online survey – “Teaching with online discussions in ANGEL”
  • Put into Elluminate
  • You may have heard many terms associated with Online Discussions – such as the following:
    - Discussion Boards
    - Bulletin Boards
    - Message Boards
    - Threaded Discussions
    - Discussion Forums
    - Online Forums
    Chat Rooms
    And more…
  • The Angel Instructor Course describes Discussions in this way:
    Discussions are the “heart” of an online course – as they enable interaction amongst students (Yellow highlighting)
    As you see on the right, a discussion is a tool for students to stay connected through each other electronically
    The green arrow also highlights the idea that Discussion Forums are used in a variety of ways
    Informaal meeting room
    Way to answer students’ questions in an forum easily accessible to all students
    A way to encourage critical reflection on concepts
  • Benefits of Discussion – Encourages Critical Thinking
    - Most of us want to encourage critical thinking form our students. A discussion forum is an excellent way to do so Gilly Salmon’s 5 stage model – interactive model
  • As per Bloom’s Taxonomy - Use discussions to move thinking to a higher level
    Discussions can be a way to ask questions that encourage this type of thinking – you can either pose the questions yourself, or encourage students to create questions to ask others
    Example – you can build case studies and have students discussion possible solutions by applying knowledge – or have them create scenarios
    Build case studies
  • As this diagram says – discussions are toois that can encourage students to:
    Apply concepts to practical situations
    Practice skills BEFORE being tested on them
    Connect ideas to their own prior knowledge – build connections to new ideas
    Establish a community of learning – decrease sense of isolation
    Help you gauge student success –”are they “getting it?”
    Overall – helps you expand classroom experiences
    Finally – all these activities help increase student engagement
  • “LOL’ – And – according to the new DL Strategy – using discussions helps you move toward reaching the goal of including a blended learning component
    Our DL strategy indicates our learners expect engagement and expect alternatives to classroom experiences. Online discussions are one method of doing so!
  • When to Use Discussions:
    There are a range of times / places to use discussions:
  • You can use Discussions in a variety of formats: (Range of Opportunities)
    Some of our fully online courses use discussion minimally – near the beginning of the course to allow students to get to know each other, pose questions about the course, and seek clarification on the goals / expectations of the course; then 2nd discussion – about 2/3 – ¾ way through the course – as a time to reflect on what they have learned thus far, address any outstanding questions before heading toward the final assignment / exam; or to apply concepts to new situations (application of case studies)
    = Other end – open-ended discussions board; allow students to post at will; no assessment value – used totally as a way for students to ask each other questions, apply to own learning, share ideas etc. (A “Learning Café” model)
    - Or – rely heavily on discussions – ENG 095/ Eng 150 -
  • What is your role in Discussions? One of the challenges will be in understanding the new role you can take
    Will you be
    “Sage on the Stage” or a “guide on the Side?
  • Research suggests discussions are more effective when you act as a facilitator of learning – a Guide on the Side.
  • Be clear about the expectations of “how to participate” . Lay out the Netiquitte ahead of time.
    OR – have students develop a “netiquitte” as their first discussion posting. Have them suggest the acceptable tone, and style of their discussion board. That gives them the control over the feel of their discussions, and gives them some ownership in the experience.
  • Here are two sources for information on Netiquitte
  • Avoid “Death by Discussion” – Especially in large classes – with several students posting –
    Keep your role manageable – you, nor the students, can respond to every posting.
    Set limits –
    If needed – establish groups – break them into smaller groups and “monitor” discussions amongst the groups
  • What do you want to do with discussions?
    Examples are available online in ANGEL course
    Set up time to meet with Instructional Designers if desired
    - We will add more resources to ANGEL course throughout the year….
    Check with the dicsussion board – to see if others have responded!
  • Learning through face-to-face and online discussions: Associations between students' conceptions, approaches and academic performance in political science.
    Does the discussion help? The impact of a formally assessed online discussion on final student results.
    Evaluating the use of synchronous communication in two blended courses.
    Love, K., & Isles, M. (2006). 'Welcome to the online discussion group': Towards a diagnostic framework for teachers. Australian Journal of Language & Literacy, 29(3), 210-225. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
    'Welcome to the online discussion group': Towards a diagnostic framework for teachers.
  • Using discussions to_enhance_student_nov 16

    1. 1. Teaching With Online Discussions
    2. 2. • List reasons for using online discussions • Explain the various roles of the facilitator • Describe different models for participation and assessment • Identify opportunities for using discussions in one’s own teaching Outcomes
    3. 3. What are Discussions?
    4. 4. Benefits of Discussions
    5. 5. Angel Instructor Course States…
    6. 6. Critical thinking is a common objective of various disciplines and a goal that most faculty can aspire to. MacKnight, C. (2000)Teaching Critical Thinking through Online Discussions
    7. 7. Use discussions to encourage higher level thinking
    8. 8. Every course offered by Lethbridge College will contain a blended learning component. (Lethbridge College Roadmap to the Future - 2010) Fits DL Strategy
    9. 9. When to Use Discussions
    10. 10. Range of Opportunities
    11. 11. What is the Instructor’s Role?
    12. 12. What Role?
    13. 13. When questioning, problem- solving and investigation become the priority classroom activities, the teacher becomes a “Guide on the Side” • Mackenzie, J.(2010). The Wired Classroom
    14. 14. Guide on the Side • Monitors Discussions but does not necessarily respond to every posting • “Hovers” – directs discussions when they get off track – helps steer directions that will meet course outcomes
    15. 15. Role of Student
    16. 16. How to Build a Discussion
    17. 17. Discussion Tips Lay out specific directions and expectations Make it meaningful and purposeful •Give clear guidelines on expectations (minimum and maximum length) •Identify minimum number of times expected to participate • Establish clear marking rubrics or guidelines for assessment • Why would I want to participate? • What can I learn from others? • What can I share with others to enhance their understanding?
    18. 18. Build Independence • Teach students how to participate; begin slowly – simple introductions with some focused questions; move to more difficult levels of participation – large classes – may wish to use grouped discussions
    19. 19. Netiquitte
    20. 20. Netiquette • eLearning Café Website Online Communication Tips For Students • UBC – Netiquitte site Communicating Online: Netiquitte
    21. 21. Challenges / Pitfalls
    22. 22. Death by Discussion
    23. 23. What Next?